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enthymeme

en·thy·meme /ˈɛnθəˌmim/

–noun Logic.
a syllogism or other argument in which a premise or the conclusion is unexpressed.

Origin:
1580–90; < L enthȳmēma < Gk enthȳ́mēma thought, argument, equiv. to enthȳmē-, var. s. of enthȳmeîsthai to ponder ( en– en-2 + –thȳmeîsthai v. deriv. of thȳmós spirit, thought) + –ma n. suffix of result

—Related forms
en·thy·me·mat·ic  /ˌɛnθəmiˈmætɪk/, adjective

Source: Dictionary.com.

“The Devil (God save us!) does not tempt a monk with serpents and two-headed men. If anything, with lascivious visions, as he tempted the fathers in the desert. And besides, if it is evil to handle certain books, why would the Devil distract a monk from committing evil?”

“That seems to me a good enthymeme,” my master admitted.

Source: The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco.

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  1. 10 November 2010 at 1:39 am

    You can admit that an enthymeme is good in that it is an enthymeme—a syllogism whose conclusion follows on probable as opposed to necessary grounds etc.—without endorsing the claim. “That’s a good argument” doesn’t mean that I accept the conclusion; it only means that you have data, a claim, and a clear logical link between them. In fact, “that’s a good argument” (an enthymeme is an argument) is what I generally say when I disagree with what you may have said. But hey, what do I know?

  2. 13 November 2010 at 12:49 am

    That’s probably what Eco intended William of Baskerville to imply.

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